Major League Baseball announced its new initiative for 2018 in an attempt to quicken the pace of games. Rule changes were agreed upon thanks to cooperation with the Players’ Union. The new rule concerning mound visits limits all teams to six non-pitching change mound visits per team per game.
If the game goes into extra innings, one additional visit will be granted. Players visiting the mound to clean spikes off and visits for injuries will not count as mound visits. While these rules may seem meaningless, any regular baseball fan would agree with me when I say that too much time is wasted on mound visits.
Another rule was announced to shorten the time taken for inning breaks and pitching changes. The actual amount of time required for between-inning breaks will not change.
What will change is that umpires now must signal for the final warmup pitch, ensuring the game resumes on time. Similarly, a timing clock will also be applied to pitching changes. Furthermore, direct slow-motion camera angles will be installed in all club video review rooms. Hopefully, this will speed up challenges and reviews that pertain to instant replay. New phone lines will also be installed that will be monitored in order to prevent sign stealing.
The big news, however, is the decision to defer the implementation of a pitch clock and a between-batter timer. Instead, players are urged to speed up the game themselves without having the pressure of a ticking clock. This sentiment is reflected in a tweet from the Major League Baseball Players Association:
— #MLBPA (@MLB_PLAYERS) February 19, 2018